Non-round roundels and whatnot

Pure madness

"Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results"
-someone somewhere, at some point in history

Despite my very bad feelings from the Warthog project's decals I decided to give those bastards another shot. At least the decals in this kit looked fresh, so maybe they'd behave. Thanks to the Strafgesetzbuch 86a the decal sheet didn't contain the swastikas for the tail. So I had to either skip them or paint them myself. I thought that skipping them would've been comical, as they were used everywhere, historically. But then again, I'm not German.

Painting some forbidden signs

I tried a new approach with this pretty simple shape. First I cut two square-shaped pieces of masking tape and put them on the tail so that they stood on their edges.

Then I laid a few thin strips of tape along the edges of the square. My fingers were a bit too large and cumbersome near the tightest of corners, but I got the basics covered and that was what mattered.

After these the middle bit was unnecessary, as it was only there to provide location data for the edges. Luckily I didn't scrape off any paint while peeling the tape bits off...

My last step consisted of painting a black X in the center. The problem was that I couldn't be perfectly consistent with my line widths. I also didn't want to use any extra masks for the angled bits and then just airbrush the whole thing. I had tried that and it caused more fixables than what it was worth.

After the crosses were done I painted the angled bits and tore off the tapes. I had to fix a couple of dots but that was it. Then I googled furiously to see how the tail swastikas were on real planes and apparently not nearly all of them had the white edges, depending on the camo pattern and whatnot. So I decided that I wouldn't ruin my model any more and let it be.

Glossy phase

I had to remember to apply the varnish over the drop tank as well, as that was going to get a couple of decals. This time I didn't waste time and material by varnishing things that weren't going to get decals. That also provided me some patches to hold on to so I could go over the whole model on one go.

The decal hell

Right now I still had the chance to make my life much easier and happier by throwing the decals into the garbage bin. In a moment of temporary insanity I decided to stay away from my comfort zone and I stuck to my earlier decision of using these cursed decals.

I don't know where I'm goin'
But I sure know where I've been
Hanging on the promises in songs of yesterday
An' I've made up my mind,  I ain't wasting no more time
Here I go again, here I go again

Session I

As usual, I started my decal-laying with the most important ones and the generally larger ones. First I put on the wingtop Balkenkreuz profiles. They behaved nicely. Then I put on the wing-bottom full Balkenkreuz. Then the ones on the sides. All these last ones had something funny, as if they weren't completely straight and even. Later I saw it clearly in the photos: one of the black bars was off by one pixel and therefore looked odd.

I proceeded to apply the minuses on the sides, the JG1 insignia on the nose (that was barely understandable in this scale, with my eyes at least), the red "23" in front of the Balkenkreuz. Wikipedia told me that the box art boy, Heinz Bär maybe flew the red 23 when he achieved his 200th victory, but the plane was an A7 while the kit has always been talking about an A8 model. Not that I cared, but I guess someone could get a nervous breakdown with this.

After all the easy ones were done, I tried to use the "don't walk here" dashed lines on the wings, but the second one went all spaghetti on me and I threw them all away. Frustrating. I did remember to use all the markings on the drop tank and those settled on pretty nicely too. Then I went on adding some random little markings that I could while my one-hour playtime allowed. At this point I was going pretty much in the number order, after I had used the octane markers and all those decals that weren't representing minuscule text.

At this point I was amazingly content with these decals. Maybe it wasn't as bad an idea as I had feared. The remaining decals (the ones that would go on the red bits took 10 equally unreadable smudges alone) I'd do the next time - or over the next few times if I got too annoyed with the tiny decals. Or if they just happened to take way too long, being tiny and all.

Those Balkenkreuz that I had been wondering about while working proved to be a bit more weird in the photos: if not all of them, three out of four had white shining in the end of one of the black bars. They were printed or designed off by one pixel. I guess I should've looked at them more carefully, but then again, had I sliced a bit off, I think I would've done too much damage. I guess I'd come up with something.

Session II

I went through the rest of the decals in an orderly fashion. Both the "Nur hier betreten" texts tried to take the spaghetti route but I managed to salvage them and set them straight. Sadly the edge lines didn't behave. After all the others I did the decals on the red pieces on the control surfaces. While looking at the first one I thought that I could've done the same, just much faster and much less annoyingly with a bit of white paint instead. All ten settled on beautifully, which was nice. I also glued the extra fuel tank under the belly of the plane, so this model was just about done now.

Matt phase

Before I applied the matt varnish I attacked the largest decals gently with a fine sandpaper. Those markings were just too bright, stood out too much in my opinion. I just wanted to get a bit of wear on them. Of course, had I some other kind of a paintjob underneath, I could've airbrushed over them lightly with the underlying tone to get them mixed in a bit better, but with this job it just wasn't doable.

In case I had used way too thick layers of matt varnish the last time, I tried to take it more easily now. It was also very likely that I didn't get a perfect coverage now, so I was mentally preparing for a later touching up session.

That was it. Now the plane itself was finished, completed, but I could try to come up with something interesting still...

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